Visit Mars with­out leav­ing Man­hat­tan.

You can do ev­ery­thing but ac­tu­ally blast off at “Sum­mer of Mars.”

Metro USA (New York) - - Front Page - EVA KIS @thi­siskis eva.kis@metro.us

A trip to Mars sounds like a bet­ter idea by the day, and rest as­sured that NASA is still work­ing hard to open the next fron­tier of the Space Race.

This week, you’ll get a look in­side all that the Na­tional Aero­nau­tics and Space Ad­min­is­tra­tion is do­ing to cross those 34 mil­lion miles to the Red Planet dur­ing “Sum­mer of Mars” at the In­trepid Mu­seum.

“What peo­ple don’t re­al­ize is the space pro­gram is still go­ing on,” says De­siree Scialpi, direc­tor of mar­ket­ing at the In­trepid. “NASA is still work­ing hard, and they’re still mov­ing for­ward.”

The cen­ter­piece will be NASA’s huge Mars Rover con­cept ve­hi­cle parked right on the pier in front of the In­trepid, where all ac­tiv­i­ties are free to the pub­lic on Aug. 3-6 (with many oth­ers free with mu­seum ad­mis­sion).

Although the nearly 11-foot-tall, 5,000-pound rover is not des­tined for the Red Planet, it’s a glimpse of the best guess sci­en­tists can make at a vi­able ve­hi­cle for the per­son (or peo­ple) who makes the jour­ney — NASA is aim­ing for 2030.

To show you how, the space agency is bring­ing a whole expo fea­tur­ing ev­ery­thing you ever wanted to know about the agency’s Jour­ney to Mars mis­sion. From launch­ing you there (via vir­tual re­al­ity) to in­ter­ac­tive games about the Mar­tian nat­u­ral world (like find­ing out what else you can grow be­sides pota­toes) and ac­tu­ally putting your hands on NASA’s lat­est tech.

Beyond Mars, you’ll see into deep space (and yes, we’re send­ing peo­ple there, too) with the James Webb Space Te­le­scope, NASA’s new­est launch sys­tems and plane de­signs, and go all the way back to life just af­ter the Big Bang. There’s of course talks with sci­en­tists and first-hand ac­counts of life in space from as­tro­nauts.

“Sum­mer of Mars” co­in­cides with the In­trepid Mu­seum’s Space & Sci­ence Fes­ti­val, which brings tons of ac­tiv­i­ties, ex­hibits and talks to the In­trepid’s pier, flight deck — home to the Space Shut­tle En­ter­prise — and mu­seum be­gin­ning to­day through Aug. 6.

Now in its sixth year, it’s a chance to check in with all as­pects of space tech­nol­ogy whether you’re a kid who still dreams of be­ing an as­tro­naut or an en­thu­si­ast from when we first landed on the moon in 1969.

Just some of the high­lights in­clude tak­ing a spin on the Space Camp clas­sic multi-axis trainer, drones you can build and fly, a space-themed Lego mu­ral, ro­bot­ics demon­stra­tions, a free screen­ing of “The Mar­tian” (Aug. 1) and a tick­eted play called “Moon Shot.”

“It’s a su­per ac­tion­packed show where the per­form­ers are on a small stage about 21 square feet, which is about as tight as the orig­i­nal Mer­cury cap­sule,” ex­plains Ash­ley Allen, pub­lic re­la­tions direc­tor for the In­trepid. “They’re ba­si­cally us­ing only their bod­ies and voices to bring to life the his­tory of hu­man ex­plo­ration from the Cold War to Sput­nik.”

Speak­ing of ex­plo­ration, check in with the In­ter­ga­lac­tic Travel Bu­reau be­fore book­ing your next flight. “They’ll sim­u­late rock climb­ing on Mars and ski­ing on Pluto,” ex­plains Scialpi. “It’s an in­ter­ac­tive sci­ence theater that has th­ese travel agents and as­tronomers who use real data to cre­ate per­son­al­ized va­ca­tions in space.”

How’s about mak­ing that hap­pen in our life­times, NASA?

NASA

Get up close to NASA’s Mars Rover con­cept dur­ing Sum­mer of Mars at the In­trepid Mu­seum.

In­side the Rover NASA

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